The brushes you use to apply your makeup are fundamental to the finished look you want to achieve (“a craftsman is only as good as his tools” seemed like too cheesy of an opening… but it’s true). Using quality brushes means you get the most out your makeup, no matter what level of expertise you are at or how expensive your products are. But the dilemma most students face is that high end brushes are a luxury most of us cannot afford to invest in… yet cheaper alternatives lack status and we don’t want to end up disappointed by horrible quality. Fortunately this is a concern that the beauty vloggers of today have addressed! So I have rounded up the most highly praised makeup brushes and tools that can be found in the budget friendly safe zone of under £10 and ordered them by brand into this (hopefully) handy student brush guide:
1. Real Techniques
Real Techniques brushes were created by professional makeup artist and YouTube sensation, Samantha Chapman, with a focus on high quality tools that were accessible for the everyday woman. The brushes are all synthetic (and therefore 100% cruelty free), wash well, maintain their shape and most importantly apply your makeup beautifully. I personally love Real Techniques for their face range, the Expert Face Brush (£9.99) and the Miracle Complexion Sponge (£5.99) both create a flawless foundation finish and I struggle every morning to decide which one to use. Other brushes that have been consistently raved about are the Blush Brush (£9.99) – which is actually the perfect egg shape and size for bronzer and contouring – and the Setting Brush (£8.99) which is ideal for buffing out concealer. However in general, if you’re looking for one brand that will satisfy all of your makeup tool needs – you really can’t go wrong with the entire Real Techniques Collection.
EcoTools is a leading eco-conscious brand that is most well-known for its soft and cruelty-free makeup brushes. The bamboo and aluminium handles look sleek and professional and the soft bristles on the brushes make application an absolute dream. My all-time favourite brush from this collection is the massive, fluffy Powder Brush (£9.99) which is not only highly effective in setting your makeup but also astonishingly soft… when I first bought this brush I must’ve sat stroking my face with it for a solid five minutes (and I’m not even joking).The tapered Blush Brush (£7.99) is also a great purchase along with the Eye Enhancing Duo Brush Set (£6.99) which is a two-piece, duo ended set that includes a ‘Shade & Define’ brush and a ‘Blend & Smudge’ brush – everything you need to create a gorgeous eye makeup look!
3. e.l.f. Cosmetics
Last but not least… e.l.f. Cosmetics! For those not in the know, e.l.f. Cosmetics is an online retailer that revolutionised the beauty industry with jaw-droppingly-low prices and high quality products when they launched in the U.S. in 2004. Ten years on, their makeup brushes – the majority of which retail for under £4 (FOUR POUNDS!!) – are still being used by professional makeup artists around the world and soon to be the entire female student population of Nottingham. I particularly rely on e.l.f. for more product-specific eye brushes and some favourites include the Smudge Eye Sponge (£1.95), perfect for creating a smokey effect on your eyeliner, the duo Brow Comb & Brush (£1.95), a basic beauty bag essential, and finally the Eyeshadow C Brush which is perfect for precise eyeshadow application and blending.
Edited by Caroline Chan